If you have made the decision to invest in AP automation, you’re probably already familiar with the many benefits it can bring to your organization, such as increased productivity, reduced costs, and greater workflow efficiency. While these benefits are pretty straightforward, you will likely develop questions as you continue down the path of implementation. Eliciting advice is a great way to navigate unfamiliar subject matter, but it can often be difficult to distinguish the good advice from the bad. Below is the worst advice about AP Automation that we’ve ever heard, and the reasons you should steer clear of these approaches.
#1: Don’t involve your team in implementation decisions
Adopting AP Automation without taking your team’s perspective into account is a big mistake. Integrating an automated platform should be a collaborative effort between every department that will be affected, especially accounting. Unless everyone impacted by the project is included, you may find yourself dealing with resistance and push-back. Strong communication and feedback during the planning and deployment stages of the project will encourage employees to be supportive and excited about the change. Providing regular updates will help to alleviate concerns from contributing teams and will allow major discrepancies to be addressed upfront. With varying points of view, it will be difficult to satisfy everyone, however, employees will greatly appreciate the opportunity to be heard.
#2: Take an all or nothing approach when it comes to vendor enrollment
Some companies believe that in order to implement AP automation, all of their vendors need to be accepting electronic payments. Although that would be ideal, this definitely falls into the worst advice about AP automation. The truth is that vendor enrollment can, and should, be an ongoing initiative.
To get more vendors onboard, remind them that electronic payments will benefit them, too. Most vendors will agree that receiving quick and automated payments and increasing their available cash flow is a win-win. Many AP automation providers have dedicated vendor enrollment teams that will proactively reach out to vendors still using traditional payment methods, such as paper checks, and educate them on the benefits of virtual card payments. They can help you create an on-boarding plan for each supplier, so you can efficiently integrate them into the process once the new system is in place.
If you still have vendors that don’t want to accept virtual cards, make sure you get a total AP solution that can manage all preferred payment types including ACH, private network, corporate purchasing cards, and even checks.
#3 Once you’ve built out AP automation, you will never have to change it again
Once you have successfully transitioned to an automated AP platform, it is important to evaluate your new system through testing and data collection and establish a plan for scalable growth based on your findings. Similar to other areas of your business, the accounting department should remain open to continuous improvement. With new technologies and changing business needs, there will likely be opportunities for even greater efficiency in the future. Failing to make technology upgrades could result in the loss of significant long-term savings.
Despite the worst advice about AP automation you may hear on the streets, it’s actually a great way to improve performance and efficiency in your accounting department. Don’t let a few pieces of poor advice or misguided information foil your plan for a seamless and successful implementation.
Looking for more good advice on AP automation? See what these companies are saying about best practices for AP automation.